Saturday, December 9, 2017

~December 9, 2017~

~Home Sweet Home~

Just a quiet Saturday afternoon in New England on a December day! 

Enjoy!

Friday, December 8, 2017

~2017 Yuletide at Storrowton~

Admiring the beautiful Christmas Tree!
Yuletide at Storrowton is a great event in my area of Western MA!  We went last weekend!  The weather was co-operating, so we drove over the Connecticut River to West Springfield (in MA).  Walking onto the grounds of this 19th century New England village brings us back in time to a period of our American history when so many every day items were hand crafted.  The buildings on the grounds are original and moved to their present location at Storrowton Village.


The Meeting House was our first stop!  A Meeting House was used for Town Meetings and also for worship.  It was our first stop!  The fruit decoration above the doorway was beautiful and not often seen these days.


Once inside sitting down, we had the opportunity to listen to Folk Music from the 19th century!

19th century Folk Music Performers
 Then, onto the Blacksmith Shop!

Needed tools the Blacksmith had crafted.    
He stopped his work to answer the numerous questions we all had.  

Pounding the red hot metal to a needed shape.
Inside the Lawyer's Office we saw simple, yet elegant tree decorations.  The trees were made of folded gold paper with a dowel in the center.  I took note of this easy, beautiful decoration.  Local area garden clubs create the floral arrangements.  These arrangements are on view for all of us to get new decorating ideas.  :)

Visit to the Lawyer's Office
Walking a little further down the path, we visited the Gilbert House.  There was a candle in the window!

  
Once inside, we visited with a lady spinning yarn.  The Kitchen was in the next room.  Then, we enjoyed the Parlor.  

There were so many beautiful decorations to admire while visiting Storrowton Village!
 
Beautiful Decoration!
Once inside the Schoolhouse a gentleman described the education during this time period.  In this Schoolhouse the blackboard was on 3 walls.
  
The Schoolhouse!
Our last stop on this wonderful journey back to the 19th century was to chat with a craftsman who made paint brushes.  

Craftsmen Making Paint Brushes!
It's always fascinating to visit Storrowton Village!  This week there are tours and special "Lantern Light Tours" of the Village taking place.  This is an event we always put on our calendar!  I know you have enjoyed this tour back to 19th century New England!

Enjoy!
     

Sunday, December 3, 2017

~Knitted Penguins~


Knitted Penguins
It's the beginning of December.  You may have knitting needles in many sizes just waiting to be picked up and start clicking away.  You may have white or blue, green or red yarn sitting in your "yarn stash".  There may be even a skein of black yarn.  If you don't have black yarn, put it on your "must buy" list!  These adorable Penguins are just too cute to resist knitting, if you like to knit!!!

Last year I surprised my older two grandsons with these cute little guys.  One grandson likes anything and everything relating to Penguins.  I used a Red Heart yarn pattern that I had found on Twitter.

Click here for pattern.

JOANN's had the needed buttons to securely sew on the faces.  Using a small piece of Bias Tape the buttons were sewn on much easier.  They are also more secure!

Securely sew on buttons!
Each Penguin has a jersey body liner that's stuffed & then placed inside the knitted body.  This body liner prevents any stuffing from seeping out of the knitted body.

Stuffed Jersey Liner to place inside Penguin.
The Penguin body is knitted.  The flippers and scarves are knitted separately.  I tacked the scarf onto the Penguin, completely, so it will never move.

***Push in the bottom of the completed Penguin, if you want it to stand up.  

This amigurumi Penguin is a cute gift for some lucky recipient!  

For my complete post from last year on creating these adorable knitted Penguins, click here.  These little amigurumi are just so cute!!!

Happy Knitting!
    

Saturday, November 25, 2017

~Turkey a la King~

Turkey a la King
(File Photo)
Is there leftover Turkey from your delicious dinner on Thursday?  Or maybe just a little is remaining.  It's a great opportunity to make Turkey a la King for dinner!  You probably have all of the ingredients already.  This is so similar to a Turkey Pot Pie.  However, there is no need to roll out or purchase a pie crust.  A creamy sauce filled with small bites of turkey along with mixed vegetables served over toasted bread.  Now, that's what I call easy.  That's also what I call yummy!

So, find your can of Chicken Broth, Milk and package of frozen vegetables to prepare this for tonight's dinner.  :)

Turkey a la King
     Serves 2- 3 people 


Ingredients:

1/4 Cup Margarine/ Butter (I use unsalted.)
1/3 Cup Flour
1 Cup Chicken or Turkey Broth
      (I use College Inn Light & Fat Free Chicken Broth.)
1 Cup Milk
1 Cup Turkey chunks (cooked), cut up, more if desired
 2 Cups cooked Carrots & Peas (or Mixed Vegetables)

*****
Sliced Bread, Toasted, 1- 2 slices/ person

Method:
  1.  Melt Margarine/ Butter in large skillet/ large pot.
  2.  Remove skillet from Medium heat and slowly stir in Flour.
  3.  Return to heat and slowly add in Chicken Broth & Milk while slowly stirring constantly.
  4.  Continue stirring over heat until sauce is thick and bubbly. 
  5.  Add cooked Turkey chunks.
  6.  Add in cooked vegetables.
  7.  Stir and heat mixture for 1 - 2 Minutes.
  8.  Serve over toasted Bread.
There's always some Cranberry Sauce on our table to enjoy while having this at dinner!  It's easy and delicious!   

Enjoy!
Yummy!
     

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Journey of the Mayflower


Learning a little more history is always fascinating!  The Cape (Cape Cod) is a beautiful area in my state of Massachusetts.  Whenever we stop in to the town of Chatham, MA, it's always interesting to read and review a little history.  The area across from the Chatham Lighthouse is not only scenic, there is an interesting plaque to read.

A few years ago in November of 2012, I wrote a post about the history and the voyage of the Mayflower.  I find that it is still a favorite read.  What better time than during Thanksgiving Day week is there to share it again?

"The Journey of the Pilgrims" 

Enjoy!


I wish you all
a Happy Thanksgiving Day
and weekend!!!  

Monday, November 20, 2017

Butternut Squash Bread

Butternut Squash Breads cooling!
(File Photo)
It is a tradition!  Every year I bake Butternut Squash Bread to enjoy during the Thanksgiving Day weekend!  Years ago, I used a Pumpkin Bread recipe & replaced the pumpkin with Butternut Squash!  Then, I started using Egg Whites rather than Whole Eggs when preparing my breads.  Before I knew it, I replaced Olive Oil for baking & sauteing for the vegetable oil.  The result?? A yummy cinnamon flavored Butternut Squash Bread that has a hint of Nutmeg!  It's become a tradition to enjoy this bread over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. 

This bread also freezes very well.  Usually, I bake 2.  One is enjoyed for the next few days & the second bread is wrapped in foil & placed in our freezer.  It's already baked!  What a tasty bread!  1 cup of cooked/ mashed Butternut Squash makes a very delicious bread!  

Butternut Squash Bread

Oven Temperature:  350°F       Baking Time:  55 Minutes

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Cup Sugar

4 Egg Whites (=  total of 2 Whole Eggs)
3/4 Cup Olive Oil for baking & sauteing
1 Cup Butternut Squash, cooked/ mashed/ cooled- defrosted if frozen
PAM

Method:
  1. Spray 1 large bread pan with PAM. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl. 
  4. In smaller bowl, beat Egg Whites until frothy.
  5. Mix in Olive Oil.
  6. Add mashed Butternut Squash to Egg White/ Olive Oil mixture.
  7. Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients.  Stir until combined.
  8. Pour batter into bread pan.
  9. Bake at 350°F for 55 Minutes, or until cake tester/ toothpick comes out clean when inserted in middle of loaf.
  10. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 Minutes. 
  11. Then, remove from pan.
  12. Continue cooling on wire rack.
  13. Later, place on a serving dish & cut into slices.
We always enjoy the first slice later in the day that this bread is baked.  If, you can wait until the next day to sample it, the flavors combine even more.  We never can wait for the next day to sample!  Yes, it is that yummy!

Can you substitute canned pumpkin?? Yes.  However, Butternut Squash Bread is just the best!

Enjoy!
Yummy!

  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

~Freezing Butternut Squash~

Mashing the Butternut Squash



The annual ritual of freezing Butternut Squash to enjoy the other months of the year is in full swing!  This delicious orange vegetable is such a great treat at dinnertime.  It's great to be able to purchase the fresh local vegetables in autumn at local roadside stands.  With a little prep work this veggie can be frozen, then reheated, for a great side dish during the year!

Ready for our freezer!
I freeze 2 Cups of this mashed veggie in each Quart sized Ziploc Freezer bag.  While preparing dinner it's easy to remove the frozen mashed Butternut Squash from the bag and place in a Corningware dish.  Place the cover on top.  In our microwave it is defrosted/ reheated in ~14 minutes.  The steaming hot vegetable is served in the same baking dish.

There are also many other ways that we enjoy Butternut Squash!  For me it requires only walking down the stairs to open our large freezer.  The bags of Butternut Squash are waiting on the second shelf!

This is the time of year when we find these orange colored squash plentiful in the grocery stores.    

Click here for complete directions on preparing Butternut Squash for the freezer. 

Enjoy!
           

Friday, November 10, 2017

~Veterans Day~

The Homecoming G.I."
Norman Rockwell
THE SATURDAY  EVENING POST Cover
(May 25, 1945)

Thank You to all of our Veterans!!!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The word is...


incredible!  It's November and our beautiful pink Roses are still blooming!   

We are enjoying the beautiful color.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October 31-



HappHalloween!!!

Enjoy!
 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

October Color


On the daily walk in our neighborhood it's always great to look- up!  Suddenly, during the month of October the leaves begin to change!  Now, the beautiful colors of autumn are becoming visible.  The golden yellows, the rust colors & the subdued reds along with orange leaves on trees.  All colors are mixed in with many shades of green. 


Every day it changes, just a little.  Everything is a little more colorful. 


The brilliant colors appear & before we know it, they change color, again.  The dried leaves start floating downward.  Autumn in New England is beautiful!

Enjoy!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

~Flatbread Pizza~

The last slice of Grilled Pork Tenderloin Flatbread Pizza!
You are planning on Flatbread Pizza for dinner.  Pork Tenderloin was grilled last night & there are a few slices remaining.  A Green Pepper & Zucchini are in the fridge.  Ricotta Cheese & shredded Cheese are quickly found there, too.  Oh wait, the Zucchini is not fit to be used.  Need to toss it!  There is a change of plans!  No, not take out!  A quick glance in the fridge & a ripened Pear is just waiting. 

You guessed it.  This was going on last night.  Plan B was that the Green Pepper & Pear were sliced/ roasted & placed on the Flatbreads.  We enjoyed another variety of Flatbread Pizza! 

While you are roasting the Green Pepper & Pear, get the other ingredients ready.  Before you know it, it will be time to toast the Flatbreads for 2 Minutes in the oven.  Then, the ingredients are placed on top & you will be ready to place them in the oven.

These are so delicious!  They are also quick & easy to prepare.  For 2 servings, I use 3 Flatbreads.  The Ricotta Cheese is always spread on the toasted Flatbreads, first.  Then roasted veggies (fruit) & grilled Pork or Chicken.  Diluted BBQ sauce that's drizzled on top gives it extra flavor.  Then, sprinkle on the shredded Cheese!  Bake for 5 Minutes.
  
***Roasting Veggies:  Rinse Green Pepper & Pear under cold running water, pat dry.  Cut the Pepper into strips.  Then, cut the Pear into strips about 3/4" wide.  After coating with baking & sauteing Olive Oil, Garlic Powder, Basil & Oregano, roast in a 450°F oven for 15 minutes.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin Flatbreads
     For 2 Servings

Ingredients:
Flatbreads- I use 3.
Roasted Green Pepper & Pear strips
1/4 Cup Ricotta Cheese (can be fat free) for each Flatbread
Grilled Pork Tenderloin- cut into chunks
4 teaspoons BBQ Sauce
1 teaspoon water
Shredded Cheese- desired amount

Method:
  1. Place (3) Flatbreads in a large cookie pan & bake in a 375°F Oven for 2 Minutes. Remove from oven. 
  2. Spread about 1/4 Cup Ricotta Cheese on each.  (I use Fat Free.)
  3. Place roasted Green Pepper & Pear strips on Flatbreads.
  4. Add Grilled Pork Tenderloin that's cut into chunks.
  5. In a small cup combine 1 teaspoon water with 4 teaspoons BBQ Sauce.
  6. Drizzle BBQ Sauce mixture over Flatbreads. 
  7. Sprinkle desired amount of Shredded Cheese on top.
  8. Bake for 5 Minutes at 375°F.
  9. Remove from oven.
  10. Cut each Flatbread Pizza on a diagonal, into 3 pieces.
  11. Cover & refrigerate any leftovers. 
Last night one slice remained after dinner.  It was also the slice that contained the least amount of ingredients.  No problem.  It was part of my husband's lunch today.

Enjoy!
Yummy!
              

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan

Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan ready for the oven!
Eggplant Parmesan with Spaghetti is just so good!  In days past I enjoyed ordering this entree when we dined at an Italian restaurant.  Then, I decided to stop eating the batter dipped fried Eggplant slices.  It's not that they were not totally delicious, I didn't want to eat fried foods.  Now, I enjoy preparing this entree, but I bake it.  Actually, double bake the Eggplant.  Whenever I bake a batch, extra portions are packaged/ labelled/ dated for our freezer. It's a great take- out dinner from my kitchen!

I've been baking this for a while, but now I've also changed my original recipe.  When preparing it, place a combination of Ricotta Cheese + Mozzarella Cheese on top of the Eggplant round after placing the Eggplant in the baking dish.  Then, top with a second round of Eggplant.  That extra yummy taste of  creamy Ricotta Cheese sandwiched between Eggplant slices!

Bake a batch!  It's so good!      
  
Cheesy Eggplant Parmesan

Ingredients:
2 Eggplants
Olive Oil for baking & sauteing
Basil
1 Cup Ricotta Cheese-  can be low fat or fat free
8 ounces Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Tomato Sauce- (16- 20 ounces)
(1) 6 ounce can Tomato Paste
Garlic Powder
Oregano
1 Green Pepper (chopped) and/ or 1 Zucchini Squash (chopped)

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. 
  2. Line a large cookie pan with foil, spray with PAM.
  3. Wash & dry all vegetables.
  4. Cut each Eggplant into 1" rounds.  ***Cut an even number of rounded slices. 
  5. Place each Eggplant round on cookie sheet. 
  6. Drizzle a small amount of Olive Oil for baking & sauteing on top of each round.
  7. Then, lightly sprinkle with Basil. 
  8. Bake Eggplant for 20 Minutes in 450°F. 
 After Eggplant has been removed from oven, lower oven temperature to 350°F.

***While Eggplant is baking:
  1.  Spray a large baking dish with PAM.
  2.  Combine & mix Tomato Sauce & Tomato Paste in a bowl.
  3.  Place a small amount of sauce mixture in baking dish, covering bottom of dish.
  4.  In another bowl, combine 1 Cup Ricotta Cheese and about 3 ounces of Mozzarella Cheese.

    After Eggplant comes out of the oven:
  5.  Place half of baked Eggplant rounds in baking dish.
  6.  Place Cheese mixture on top.
  7.  Place an Eggplant round on top of cheese.
  8.  Top with Sauce mixture.
  9.  Sprinkle on Mozzarella Cheese.
  10.  Add chopped Green Pepper and/ or chopped Zucchini to baking dish around Eggplant.
  11.  Cover the vegetables with all the remaining sauce mixture.
  12.  Bake for 30- 35 Minutes until Eggplant is soft.
  13.  Serve with Spaghetti & a Veggie Salad. 
This is a delicious dinner using fresh vegetables!  No longer do I miss ordering Eggplant Parmesan at an Italian restaurant.  :)

Enjoy!
Yummy!
  

Sunday, October 8, 2017

~Early Autumn~

What a great month- October!  Warm days, cool nights!  Oh wait, for the past few days it's been warm days & warm nights.  Well, sometimes things change a bit.  It is October & the local Butternut Squash are now available to purchase.

That brought our recent visit to Meadowbrook Farm in East Longmeadow.  From leaving our yard to arriving at the road side stand, it was autumn.

The fronds on our Porcupine Grasses sway in the breeze.

    
Orange Dahlias, multi colored Zinnias and Grasses in our side garden.


And then, the colorful Mums at Meadowbrook Farm!


Definitely in season- gourds & Pumpkins!


Before we know it, the leaves will be turning.  Autumn is colorful!

Enjoy!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Saving Zinnia Seeds

Sometimes the Zinnias Attract Butterflies!
It's autumn!  It's time to save those Zinnia seeds from the plants you've been enjoying all summer.  You know you'll want to enjoy these beautiful colorful flowers again next summer.  So, save the seeds from this year's crop and plant them in your flower garden next spring!  In other works, it's time to plan ahead.

Before we get a frost this autumn I harvest the colorful flowers (no stems).  That frost will end my Zinnia crop!  Place the flowers in a cut down tissue box.  Then, place the box in front of  a window to dry them out.  After the flowers have dried, pull off the outer petals.  No longer are the petals colorful, but dried out.  Each petal is attached to a "tear shaped" seed.

"Tear Shaped" Zinnia Seeds
Those seeds are a gold mine of new plants for next year!  The red, the orange, the pink and the yellow flowers!  Save the seeds in an envelope for next year.  I always seal it, so none fall out.

Next spring, take out your envelope of seeds!  You will be so happy that you saved those seeds!  Find their spot in your garden & plant them in the warm soil.  Cover with a light coating of soil.  Water.  Before you know it sprouts will pop up & your new Zinnias will be on their way!

This is a tradition with me!  After perhaps 5 years the flowers start becoming a little smaller.  Then, I know it is time to purchase the seed packets to plant.  Until then, I'll be saving my colorful Zinnia seeds!

Enjoy!
Happy planting!
         

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Baked Haddock Casserole

Baked Haddock Casserole
Who would guess that under the crushed "hint of salt" Ritz crackers is a light covering of shredded cheese & Parsley flakes?  Under that is an individual sized portion of Haddock or Cod.  There's also the light sprinkling of Parsley, Paprika & Basil on the fish. 
Baked Haddock Casserole!  This is such a delicious entree! 

My Fiestaware individual sized casserole dishes are perfect for baking this yummy seafood.  It can be prepared any time during the year using fresh or defrosted Haddock.

We've enjoyed this at dinner so many times during the past year.  Last summer when we were at the Cape (Cape Cod in MA) we stopped in for dinner at a favorite restaurant in Orleans, MA- Rock Harbor Grill.  At dinner that evening we had a yummy baked fish entree, only it contained sausage in the topping.  Considering that I am watching my cholesterol, I decided to make a similar dish at home minus the sausage.  I add Paprika for the extra kick here.  To be honest, I do not see a difference in taste.

The fish is light & moist in this casserole.  The cheese & herbs give it a great taste.  It has become one of our favorite dinners on a cold New England night.

Bake this entree some evening!  It is so good!    

Baked Haddock Casserole
     2 servings  

Oven Temperature:  350°F          Time:  45 Minutes

Ingredients:
2 pieces (1/2 lb. each) Captain's Cut Haddock (- thick pieces)
1/8 teaspoon Parsley Flakes
1/8 teaspoon Paprika
1/8 teaspoon Basil
3- 4 ounces shredded Mozzarella or Mozzarella/ Cheddar Cheese combo
15 Hint of Salt Ritz Crackers, crushed   OR   2/3 Cup Bread Crumbs

3 Tablespoons Butter/ Margarine, melted
1/3 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

Method:
  1. Butter individual baking dishes.
  2. Rinse Haddock under cool running water.
  3. Place in baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle on Parsley Flakes.
  5. Then, sprinkle on Paprika & Basil.
  6. Cover with shredded Cheese.
  7. In a small bowl combine crushed Ritz Crackers  OR  Bread Crumbs & Garlic Powder.
  8. Add melted Butter/ Margarine & Worcestershire Sauce.  Combine well.
  9. Spread half of Mixture Topping on top of each baking dish.
  10. Bake at 350° F for 45 Minutes.
I find the crushed Ritz crackers work well here as do the Bread Crumbs, so I use either.  

This entree is just delicious!  There's no need to enjoy it only at a restaurant!  Serve it at home with a Salad & a Baked Potato!

Enjoy!
Yummy!